University academic uses design skills to help Grenfell Tower group campaign for change

Mon 26 June, 2023
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An academic from the University of Bedfordshire has taken part in a visual campaign led by families of the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster, to help publicise their demands for justice.

Noel Douglas, Course Leader for Graphic Design with the School of Arts & Creative Industries, has worked for the last three years with the campaign group Next of Kin, which is made up of those who lost loved ones in the Grenfell Tower fire back in 2017. Noel used his graphic design skills to produce videos and posters which were displayed across London on 14th June – the sixth anniversary of the tragedy.

Part of their campaign involved the takeover of advertising spaces in busy areas of London and having digital posters on bus stops around the capital. Some of the posters designed by Noel feature an augmented reality layer so when people see the posters using their phone and a linked app, they can view edited videos taken from the testimonies of various companies and officials whose decisions in part led to the tragedy.

The Grenfell Tower fire, which claimed the lives of 72 people in a high-rise block of flats in June 2017, was the deadliest structural fire in the United Kingdom since 1988. Since the disaster, the families of victims have campaigned tirelessly to hold those responsible accountable.

Speaking about his work with this project, Noel said: “I'm very proud of this collaboration. To help the victims of what is one of the greatest and most shocking tragedies this country has seen is, for me, the best use of my communication design skills. I hope that through our collective efforts we can get justice soon for the 72 people who died on June 14th 2017."

Next of Kin are made up of around half of the families of those killed in the fire and formed their own group to help advocate for themselves and keep up the pressure on calls for those responsible for the fire to be charged with criminal offences.

A spokesperson from Next of Kin added: “The posters and billboard campaign touches us deeply. We are grateful to Noel for supporting our visibility and demands to break the silence around the call for justice and make our demands visible. Those 72 people who died have mums, dads, husbands, wives and partners. They have children and siblings. They were more than a name and number to us – they were our kin.”


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